Monday, July 26, 2004

Breaking News

News Flash from USS Clueless: you can't always get what you want!
We engineers get told to produce all kinds of things which are viewed as being desirable. But sometimes they are not feasible, and when we try to explain the reasons why, we soon get used to being told, "Don't tell us why you can't do it, tell us how you're going to do it."... We're told to stop thinking about "problems"; we are told that we should refer to them as "opportunities". (One engineering wag responded, "We're surrounded by insurmountable opportunities.")...

That demonstrates another rather bitter engineering aphorism: "Everything is easy for the man who doesn't have to do it himself." He sees something he really wants, and doesn't want to be told that he can't have it, even if it is a fact that he can not have it. He doesn't want to hear "No" even if "No" is the real answer. Engineers are magicians, and we're supposed to make magic happen. We've pulled off so many miracles before, so why not this one?

A lot of people know what they want. This certainly happens in politics: "Win without war." "Get cooperation and support from traditional allies." But they're quite often woefully short on plans. The more idealistic they are, the more likely it is they'll deny that they should even be required to contribute such a plan. Someone else should figure out how to make it happen; the idealist's job is to show us all the real destination.